Zoo's Views: Not necessary to deal veteran core


Zoo's Views: Not necessary to deal veteran core

A report recently surfaced that Thaddeus Young has asked the 76ers for a trade. Young promptly denied the rumor (see story) and proceeded to go on probably the finest four-game tear of his NBA career.

There might be the assumption that Young is showcasing himself so that a deal gets done. In fact, some seem to think Young, along with veterans Evan Turner (restricted free agent-to-be) and Spencer Hawes (unrestricted free agent-to-be) are as good as gone anyway.

It is, of course, the job of team president and general manager Sam Hinkie to decide if that happens. In the meantime, I would postulate a housecleaning that includes any or all of the above named players is not a foregone conclusion. Furthermore, I might even advocate keeping one, two or all of them.

Let’s start with Young. If you’re trying to create a winning culture, Young is certainly a good guy to have around. He’s a blue-collar worker who plays both ends of the floor and never complains no matter what he’s asked to do by his coach. Isn’t that what you’re trying to instill in the rest of your players?

Turner is a much sought-after commodity in the NBA, a player who can create his own shot and at the same time fill the stat sheet. If his renewal comes at the right price, it’s something the Sixers might want to consider.

Coming into Sunday's game in Los Angeles against the Lakers, Hawes had accomplished something only Tim Duncan had done -- averaging at least 14 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. Plus, Hawes has the added ability to stretch the floor with his outside shooting, something that is also coveted by NBA teams. Again, if the price is right, why not hold onto him?

Finally, consider that all three bring two other assets to your team. They’re all veterans, which is something you’ll need to mix in if you’re rebuilding with youth (even with them, the Sixers had the NBA’s youngest roster on opening night). At the same time, Young, Hawes and Turner are all just 25 years old, leaving them with plenty of good basketball in front of them.

Michael Carter-Williams seems to have all the makings of a future star. Nerlens Noel is an athletic big man who may one day have an impact. Also, this summer the Sixers hold two potential lottery picks in one of the best drafts in years, and money under the salary cap, even with potential financial commitments to Hawes and Turner.

What moves could they make trading any combination of Young, Hawes and/or Turner that could improve that situation?

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

CAMDEN, N.J. — Jahlil Okafor has been patient with his right knee. He was disciplined with restrictions and recovery during the preseason, recognizing the goal of being ready for opening night. 

At the same time, once he got back on the court he wanted more. Okafor played eight minutes Friday against the Heat, his first game since Feb. 28 before undergoing surgery to repair a right meniscus tear. 

“I don’t think I’m going to do eight again,” Okafor said Sunday. “They kind of heard me complain about that a lot. I think it’ll definitely be more than eight, but it won’t be much more.” 

Okafor has been limited since reaggravating his knee during the final day of training camp. He practiced “to tolerance” on Sunday, according to the Sixers. Okafor did not participate in the team scrimmage and worked out individually with assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning Todd Wright. 

The second-year big man did not feel soreness on Saturday following the game. On Sunday, he felt “kind of stiff” during practice. Brett Brown has been watching Okafor’s movement closely. While Okafor considered it to be “good,” Brown was a tougher critic. 

“I think he looked OK,” Brown said. “He didn’t look great to me today. I’ll give him a B-minus … It’s always how do you move? East, west, north, south, how do you move?” 

Okafor scored four points, one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover in Miami. He focused on his defense during the game. When he subbed out, he checked in with Elton Brand on the bench to receive feedback from the now-retired veteran. Okafor plans to continue to tap into him for advice throughout the season. 

With opening night three days away, Okafor still plans to be on the floor for it.

“I am optimistic about it,” he said. “I should be ready to go.” 

Robert Covington sprained his right ankle in Friday’s game and did not practice Sunday. Brown anticipates Covington, who has been starting at small forward, also will be ready to go Wednesday. 

“I do (expect him to play),” Brown said. “But we won’t know that for sure yet.” 

Sixers waive retired Elton Brand
The Sixers waived Brand on Sunday, making his retirement official. Brand announced his intentions to walk away from the game Thursday. The Sixers' request of waivers was a procedural step. The roster currently stands at 19. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said last week (see story). “But it’s definitely time now.” 

Brand celebrated his career with his teammates at Komodo in Miami on Thursday night ahead of their preseason finale against the Heat. 

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.